Making America energy dominant
In his latest policy speech, President Donald Trump renewed his promise of an era of American global energy dominance. He said that this energy superpower status would be gained by using “all of our energy resources.” He also noted that in just six months, “we reduced the petroleum share of the trade deficit by 5 percent.” Not bad. And what a welcome change from President Obama whose administration took every possible step to stop American fossil fuel development.
Mr. Trump recognizes what almost all his critics choose to ignore: we are entering an age of American energy renaissance that will last not just years but many decades. While the left keeps placing bad bets on expensive and unreliable green energy, Mr. Trump has a more robust and realistic strategy: make the United States the 21st century Saudi Arabia. We are well on our way getting to that goal given the continuing story of the shale oil and gas explosion. Here are some facts to think about:
Since 2007 America has increased its oil and gas output by 75 percent with most of it coming from North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Since 2015 when Republicans and Congress passed a law ending the oil and gas export ban, the U.S. has exported more than 150 million barrels of crude.
At the moment, natural gas is the disruptive energy source that is blowing away the competition. This is good news for America because we have far more natural gas than anyone, with perhaps the exception of Saudi Arabia. This has the looks of something big. The U.S. has by far the cheapest natural gas and are very capable of replacing the Middle East and Russia as primary suppliers to Europe and Asia.
Thanks in part to Mr. Trump’s energy vision, we are now building liquefied gas terminals that will lead to sharp increases in exports of our abundant natural gas. Bloomberg reports that “since starting up last year, Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana — the first major facility sending shale gas overseas — has shipped more than 100 cargoes of LNG overseas.”
Pipelines are necessary to make this energy future possible and Mr. Trump is already greenlighting these projects that were delayed or killed by Barack Obama — who hated fossil fuels.
If we are to sprint ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to energy production, we will need to allow drilling on federal lands. We are talking about unlocking some $50 trillion of energy assets lying underneath us. Just the royalties, leases and income taxes generated from all of this energy treasure would raise about $2 trillion for the federal fisc.
Coal production this year is up about 15 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal and mining jobs are back as well. That’s a testament to Mr. Trump’s reversal of Obama-era regulations meant to bankrupt coal. We need cheap coal to produce steel and other manufactured goods in America, so coal production is basic to keeping blue collar and hard hat jobs here at home in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia. Out of necessity, Big Coal is learning how to produce cleaner and cheaper coal every day — as the industry that still supplies nearly one-third of our electricity competes with natural gas.
Instead of importing $200 billion of energy every year, the U.S. and Canada could soon easily be exporting that amount. Of course, the current low global price of oil — below $50 a barrel — has all producers struggling mightily as the world absorbs a wonderful glut of cheap energy. But the amazing American frackers are discovering new ways of producing more and more energy at lower and lower costs.
The industry that has gotten most financially flattened by low natural gas prices is green energy. As long as natural gas prices stay below $3 per million cubic feet, wind and solar are as viable as cold fusion for years to come.
It is very simple: without billions upon billions of government mandates, tax credits, production subsidies, and other tax giveaways, there would be virtually no wind and solar industry today in the U.S.
As my Heritage colleague Jack Spencer, an expert on energy policy, puts it, “the only was solar and wind create jobs is by spending taxpayer dollars. Those aren’t real net new jobs because the government has to take a dollar from someone else to handout a dollar.” What industry couldn’t create jobs if the government kept showering it with billions of dollars of free money? We’ve been stupidly doing this since the 1970s. Perhaps there will be breakthroughs that make green energy viable, but we’ve heard those unfulfilled promises now for 40 years.
No one knows where the future will take us with energy technology — can nuclear power make a comeback? — but for now at least, no nation is better poised to exploit the new global age of shale energy. Better still, this is a fortuitous outcome that won’t cost the government money (as opposed to the green energy racket), but will raise trillions of new tax dollars to fund public programs.
It’s a tribute to Mr. Trump’s vision and gut instincts that a real estate developer from the Northeast gets that when so many so-called energy experts, including Mr. Obama, don’t.
If we are to sprint ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to energy production, we will need to allow drilling on federal lands. We are talking about unlocking some $50 trillion of energy assets lying underneath us.
Stephen Moore is an economic consultant with Freedom Works and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. His latest book is “Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy” (Regnery, 2016).